Think back when man first ventured into space. Early missions were rockets, which evolved into satellites, then animals, humans and eventually a full space station. When a skyscraper is to be built, a small scale model is built first. When a programmer codes something new, they also code a test to ensure the code’s integrity. It is the natural course of things to first be tested before being built to scale. It is natural also to be creative and think beyond miniature scales. It’s awesome to be visionary and to dream without limits, but to bring these ideas to life, a structure and process must be applied. A foundational piece of that initial process is prototype testing.
“Measure twice, cut once.”
Things look different from different perspectives. What might make 100% sense in your mind might not make sense to someone else. This doesn’t mean that if someone tells you your idea won’t work that you stop there. Think of the Wright Brothers. They were called “bluffers” for claiming they’d get a manned craft in the air. They started small, building prototype after prototype with only spruce wood, muslin fabric and modified bicycles. They tested their idea again and again, failure after failure, despite the critics. The Wright Brothers are a perfect example of taking small steps towards progress. They took things that already existed, working off previous knowledge of things they they’d already seen and experienced. They pieced together a prototype that would one day take to the sky and change our world forever.
Small steps build atop the last.
If you wanted to become a handyman/contractor, would you start off by building a three story house? If you were just starting to learn how to code would you code the security system for an online bank? Even if you went to school to become a contractor or a computer programmer, got your degree and then got a job doing it, they’d start you off in an entry position because no amount of academic knowledge can prepare you for the real world experiences you’ll engage with your team and your customers. You're embarking on a completely unique startup experience, that only you will ever live from your perspective. It’s a wildly exciting, liberating, and creative experience but to give yourself a chance to succeed, the wisdom of taking small steps and packing lite on your entrepreneur's journey will make the trip much less stressful, more enjoyable and cost much much less!
Save some poker chips.
There is no demand from a startup that you bet all your, and any other investor's poker chips on the first hand. It’s still a stone cold hard killing fact that 90% or so of startups fail so you don’t want to go all in on your first hand if you don’t have to. Like the paragraph above said, if this is your first startup especially, your now then in your entry level startup position. You're a entry level entrepreneur, no offense, because we’re here to help. We all started as entry level and had our failures just like the Wright Brothers. We were told things didn’t make sense or were bad ideas like the Wrights Bros and we were rejected hard sometimes like them as well. We all had our own paths to get here. Mine was mainly via MDM, which was 7 years in the trenches of small business NJ, working for nothing, trying to over-deliver to the wrong audience, getting sued, projects spanning months that were supposed to take weeks, clients bailing on invoices. Fun stuff, but it got me tough and now a few more startups later, I’m battle tested, stone hardened and ready to tell you my stories and lend you some of the wisdom that I have in concert with our other great mentors who have similar war stories of being a entry level entrepreneur.
Go forth and prosper.
I’m surely not the first one to write on this subject. There have been countless before me. The message I want to instill in you in this blog post is to travel lite and follow your gut. If you have an idea and want to try it out, despite all the critics, then do it, but do it lite first. When you go backpacking, don’t carry over 50 lbs if you can. Don’t end up hurting your back trying to carry excess. Packing less makes the hike even fun. So hike hard my fellow entrepreneurs. We live in a great time to bring your ideas to life. There are so many things out there to help you and your idea succeed and we’re hoping that we get to be a help, mentor and guide on your journey.
Michael Duane Mooring